The recent history of Afghanistan has been one of internecine struggle and intractable warfare. Yet even before the launch of Operation 'Enduring Freedom' that followed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 the British had fought in Afghanistan three times in the last 160 years. "Afghan Wars" clearly delineates the complex history of the country and the antecedents of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, from the three Anglo-Afghan wars to the Soviet invasion of 1982 and the subsequent civil war, which continues to this day, fomented by British, American and other international forces. O'Ballance views the Afghan conflicts from a historical perspective, examining tactics, successes and failures, key determinants such as the Mujahideen resistance, and the significance of external forces - whether technological, political or military. His prescient strategic commentary forecast the certain hazards of any forceful intervention in Afghanistan - lessons that contemporary politicians and military leaders would have been well advised to consider.
The book is being updated and expanded to reflect the author's views of the important role of history in this continuing conflict, with the precise aim of providing the vital background to the widespread attention devoted to Afghanistan. "Afghan Wars", with its keen military grasp of key issues and changing situations, is both essential and relevant in understanding Afghanistan today.
Colonel Edgar 'Paddy' O'Ballance served in the British and Indian armies before becoming a journalist and author. He wrote more than thirty books on military history, focusing on post-WWII conflicts. He was Chairman of the Military Commentators Circle and visited Afghanistan to research this book. Edgar O'Ballance passed away in 2009.